The Bengals stole the game from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-12. Both teams had long drives in the first quarter. But while the Bucs were able to come away with points, quarterback Andy Dalton was picked off at the 1-yard line. Dalton did not enter the game after that drive. In the second, the Bengals would find their way to the Tampa Bay 39 and kick a successful field goal, evening the game at three. Buccaneer’s Ryan Fitzpatrick was able to score the first touch down of the game, but the missed extra point limited the Bucs from going up seven. Jake Elliott was able to drive home a successful kick before the half closing the gap to 9-6.
In the second half, the Bengals found a different gear and had their way with the Bucs. Both quarterback Jeff Driskel and wide receiver Alex Erickson put on a show for Bengals fans. Jeff Driskel scored on an 18-yard run that fooled the defense. He would later connect with Josh Malone for 8 yards for another touchdown before the quarter ended. Erickson stayed in the spot light as well hauling in three receptions for 50 yards and rushing for 3. Safety Demetrious Cox also contributed to the game picking off quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Driskel would end the game with a quarterback rating of 148.6 while the defense kept Fitzpatrick at 22.9. The Bengals also scored more points in the third quarter than the Buccaneers did all game.
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Kickers Jack Elliott and Randy Bullock turned up the heat in Friday’s game. Elliott drilled home a 45-yard field goal and his extra point attempt. However, Bullock made a booming 54-yard field goal in the first quarter as well as another 49-yarder in the fourth. No news has come from the Bengals yet regarding the future of these kickers. However, Tampa Bay did announce they will be releasing their second rounder Roberto Aguayo for missing kicks.
Increase in value
quarterback Jeff Driskel and wide receiver Alex Erickson stole the show. Both did well to demonstrate their value, which may be enough to take them off the bubble. It is possible that the Bengals could go with three quarterbacks and seven wide receivers. While this combination is somewhat rare in the NFL, it may be a move that pays out dividends as the season goes on.
Joe Mixon had an opportunity to show off his skill set rushing six times for 31 yards. He was also able to connect with AJ McCarron in the air for an 11 yard gain. Mixon is competing with Jeremy Hill for the starting position at running back.
Running back Giovani Bernard and wide receiver John Ross were held out of Friday’s game. Bernard has been practicing with the team in camp and same as Ross has seen limited practice. However, the Bengals cautioned on the side of safety and kept them out. C.J. Uzomah also did not appear in Friday’s game due to a severely sprained left ankle that he acquired during Monday’s practice. Uzomah is expected to be sidelined for some time.
As time continues, expect the Bengals to slowly chip away at their 90-man roster. This game did well debut what the Bengals have in the second and third string. Next game will be on August 19, when the Bengals host the Kansas City Chiefs.